On May 4th I proudly cast my first ever vote in the Scottish local government elections. It was a great feeling, knowing that I was helping to contribute to my local area in some way. I must say though, my mood was dampened somewhat when I remembered that only a month later there shall be another election, in which I will not have a say.
There is no reason that the voting age shouldn’t be lowered to 16. I understand why the Right wing is resistant to young people voting, since we so rarely vote for them, but it is unacceptable. The Scottish Government are leading by example, it’s time for Westminster to follow suit.
I strongly believe if young people get into the habit of voting early we will see improvements in turnout. The Scottish referendum saw 75% of 16 and 17 year olds registered voting compared with 54% 18-24 year olds. Due to this lack of engagement, young people are being outvoted by older generations. The referendums in both Scotland and the UK saw the majority young people on the losing side. We should be doing anything we can to increase turnout from young people, to ensure that the outcome of votes are representative of what all the people want, not just a specific age group.
At 16, Westminster are more than happy to accept our taxes, but they deny us a vote. To simplify this, our money is paying for things we have no control over. We can’t even have a vote on what those tax levels will be!
While I appreciate not many 16&17 year olds earn enough to pay tax it’s the principle. Westminster will use us for our money, but when it comes to hearing our voices, they slam the door in our faces.
I’m fed up of being patronised by the UK Government. I’m angry that my voice doesn’t count at all levels of government. This idea that 16 year olds can’t make educated, informed decisions on who to vote for is absolutely ridiculous. In Scotland we have proved that notion wrong, yet Westminster still refuses to give us a vote. What are they so afraid of?